Activision gave me a lengthy rundown of Tony Hawk's proving ground here in Leipzig, Germany. I didn't get my hands on the game, but got a really nice tour of the new features, like the promising personal skate park creation, which can be shared with your friends in online multiplayer. But I'm not going to run through all of it. Instead we're focusing on what I consider the two most incredible innovations: a powerful video creation tool and hoodie physics that resemble Jabba the Hutt's stiffy (not that we'd know).
Part I: Video Creation If there's one under-appreciated trend in next-gen consoles, it's the powerful video creation toolsets. We've already talked about Halo 3's breakthrough multiplayer recording system that will change the way fan videos are created and shared. Tony Hawk's Proving Ground offers a slightly less powerful but possibly more creative video system.
Aside from making 30 second recordings of standard follow cams and side angles, THPG offers actual camera placement to catch the right angle on your best tricks. You know those crazy, super wide pool jumping skateboard videos you've seen? You can do that. And hopefully, with fully positionable cameras, you can do a lot more that no one's yet thought of.
Clips can then be assembled in a timeline (the process of which I didn't get to see), and a load of filters and transitions can give your video that rough but highly-produced look we've come to expect in bigger budget skateboarding videos.
The brilliance of the system is that it records animation information instead of button presses (we're guessing the same is true with Halo 3 and other modern video systems). Clips remain small since the game engine streams the content.
Part II: Jabba the Hoodie Some would expect a hoodie to flow gracefully in the wake of a skateboarder's ollies. These people would be wrong.
Because the researchers at Activision have, we're assuming, sunk millions of dollars into understanding just how a hoodie reacts to the countless environmental physics of the world.
For instance, did you know hoodies best resemble a fluid-filled bladder? Did you know this bladder has a "mind of its own," often reaching out to grab bricks and signs like a horny tail?
Because you do now.